I have a confession. I’m half-way through my term as TPPA President and I still wonder at times how I got here. If you have spent any time at all around me, you will notice that I am very quick to say, in my best Forest Gump voice, “I am not a smart man.” I believe the term is “self-deprecating” and it’s easy for me to be that way when I find myself in such esteemed company or when I want others to feel at ease.

I bring this up because one of my responsibilities as TPPA President is to write the Presidential Message for every issue of The Photographer Magazine. For me, it’s a huge task that is very stressful as I’m left trying to figure out what needs to be said. Others before me have always seemed to say the most incredible things that are so inspiring and uplifting… much like the work they create as photographers.

My creativity doesn’t always flow when I need it to, especially when I know I’m opening up myself for the world to see. So, “not being a smart man,” I find myself going back to previous issues of The Photographer and reading previous President’s Messages in hopes of finding inspiration. What I have found is a treasure trove of not only inspiration but inspiring work, incredible ideas, and educational gems.

When was the last time you visited TPPA.org and surfed all that it is? For me, all I had to do is read “Our Mission” and “What We Do” off the front page and I’m once again motivated and confident in my position. That feeling of dread I had before starts to leave my body and mind and I start feeling like Forest Gump breaking his leg supports and saying, “From that moment on I was running” (remember it must be said in the Forest Gump voice).

I would encourage all of our members to put some time aside and really look at TPPA.org and all that is there for you. Obviously, there’s a link to ThePhotographerOnline.com and the current and archived The Photographer magazines, which I honestly love reading and plan on making that a habit long after my term as TPPA President. On TPPA.org there is also the TPPA365 digital library that consist of all kinds of incredible information, CPP Study guide, videos, and (channel your best Don Dickson voice) it is FREE!!!

How about your TPPA Fellowship? …those gray and maroon ribbons. It might surprise you that you have already earned one. If you need inspiration, check out the Texas Trophy Showcase. You might see images you yourself have created but never thought they were worthy only to see similar work winning awards and recognitions. Finally, there is the events tab that has past events like Meet the Board and Texas School of Photography to upcoming events like Guy T. Phillip’s presentations on “What’s New in Lightroom” or the Road Trip to Red River N. Mexico (August 1-3) or the iHeart Photo Conference (October 14-16) and much more.

You know how I said earlier I often wonder how I ended up here as TPPA President? Well, the answer is simple. I participated in these types of events and met some of the most wonderful, talented, and giving people you could ever hope to meet. I’m not knocking online learning but there is something to be said about in-person interaction. With that said, I hope this article motivates you in spending some time online at TPPA.org and ThePhotographerOnline.com and, more importantly, being with us in-person so maybe you can find some inspiration. If nothing else, we should have some serious fun swapping stories while creating new ones. Who knows? The experience might inspire you to becoming more active and one day you might find yourself as TPPA President.

Best regards,

Robin Janson, TPPA President